ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGION DESIGNATION OF MEMBERS OF ROMAN CATHOLIC RELIGION: ENTRY IN TELEPHONE DIRECTORY: ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGION: POWER OF COMMONWEALTH TO MAKE LAW RELATING TO DESIGNATION OF RELIGIOUS BODY
ROMAN CATHOLIC RELIEF ACT 1829 (U.K.) (10 Geo. IV c.7): CONSTITUTION s 116
I am in receipt of your letter dated 15th February, 1940, enclosing departmental file relating to the protest made by Archbishop Le Fanu, Primate of Australia, against the entries in the telephone directories headed or commencing with the words ‘Catholic Church’.
In reply thereto, I desire to state that in English law, ‘Roman Catholic’ is the recognized designation of members of the ‘Roman Catholic’ Church, cf. Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829. This designation has also been recognized in the laws of the States and Territories of the Commonwealth, cf. Roman Catholic Property Trust Acts.
As the references to the Church in the various laws of the States and Territories are to the ‘Roman Catholic’ Church, I think that cognizance should be taken of such uniform designation.
The Commonwealth Government is forbidden by s. 116 of the Constitution to make laws with respect to religion and cannot therefore make a law relating to the designation of any religious body.
I suggest that one way out of the difficulty would be to alter the entries in the Telephone Directories to ‘Catholic (Roman) Church.’ In this manner a minimum amount of disturbance to existing entries would be effected.
Your Departmental File is returned herewith.
[Vol. 33, p. 141]